Spoke with David Downs, executive director of the USA Bid Committee, the group putting together a bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. He was in a plush suite at Qwest Field Saturday.
Long story short, Downs said Europe has the edge for 2018. The WC will be in South Africa next year, Brazil in 2014, so Europe figures to get it back in ’18. But in ’22, the U.S. might have its best shot.
Downs thinks the U.S. would sell 5 million tickets to 64 World Cup matches and would sell out every game in every venue. The 5 million is based on venues with an average capacity of 78,000, but Qwest Field could still host even at its 67,000.
Husky Stadium is still in the mix as a possible venue, but Qwest is the likely Seattle option when the committee identifies the final 18 venues it will send to FIFA for consideration by December, Downs hopes. Right now the list of possible sites is at 37.
Of those 18, 12 might be the final number of stadiums used for the World Cup.